A Letter to my Tall Daughter

My 5-year-old daughter Matilda May Schofield is tall. This may come as a seismic shock to you, what with me being a little over 6 foot and my husband 6ft4. But despite her being born a diddy 7lbs 8oz (for which my vulva is grudgingly grateful), it wasn’t long before she hiked up the percentiles in her little red book and was head and shoulders above the rest of the kids in our NCT group.

It transpires that parenting is a wonderful second chance at life. No, it doesn’t mean I’m going to live vicariously through my daughter, go all ‘momager’ and turn her into the Taylor Swift I should have been *sighs*. But it does mean I have the chance to say to her what I wish I could have said to my old self. To help her celebrate and nurture this actually-bloody-lovely gift that she’s been given.

Anyhow. A few years ago I decided to write her the letter below. I shared it on All the Tall things, but since we seem to be going through a spate of "isn't she big" comments, I thought I'd republish it for Otto + Ivy. If you have any other advice you’d like to give her -- or any of the daughters we tall women may bear -- then I’d love you to let us know.


Dear Matilda,

Hey beautiful girl. So I suppose first off I owe you an explanation. I could have been a bit more genetically selective and married someone shorter than your Daddy. Then you might be of ‘normal’ height. But your Daddy has the amazing cheekbones and blue eyes that I could never give you. And he’s actually quite lovely.


Besides, who the heck wants to be ‘normal’ anyway? I spent so many of my early years wanting the clothes that the cool kids had, the computer games the other kids played, to be the same height as the other girls at school. And why? Just to be like everybody else? Just to blend in? Is that what life is really about? 

You’ll have moments when your height becomes a reason for people to put you down. Don’t let your insecurities make you defensive or respond spitefully as mine sometimes did. Everyone in the playground has something they feel insecure about. Their shortness, their tubbiness, their skinniness, their spottiness, their hair colour. Do your very damndest to rejoice in their wonderful qualities, even if you don’t share those qualities yourself. Don’t feel bitter and jealous about the cute petite girl. There will be people who wish they had some of your height too.

And if you’re being picked on, TELL SOMEONE. Tell me, tell a teacher. Because often the real curse of being tall comes in the fact that you always look strong and capable. It’s difficult to imagine a very un-little person being belittled.

One day (very far away) when you fall in love, make sure that it is with whoever the hell you want it to be with. And if that person is a man, then look for someone who makes you laugh before you seek out someone who is taller than you. Don’t write off 98% of the male population by only going after the latter. Hopefully by then we’ll live in a world where no one bats an eyelid at a woman who is taller than her boyfriend. If not, then you can be another exception that contributes to a change in attitude. Also note that Daddy will be able to destroy him whether he’s short or tall. 

Don’t slouch. You’ll only look awkward and then spend ages correcting it in yoga classes. Walk like the world is your catwalk and be grateful that you have feet to move, even if they are difficult to find shoes for. It’s also your right to wear heels if you want. You can practice in Mummy’s.

I wasted so much of my first 16-or-so years praying that I’d wake up shorter. It didn’t happen. But I finally realised that even though my height wasn’t going anywhere, my attitude could. You will never stop being tall. You can put on or lose weight, colour your hair, make over your wardrobe, hell, you can even change your personality if you want to. But you will NEVER stop being tall. Take stock of what you do have and skip the ‘poor me’ stuff. It gets you nowhere. You may not be the cute, dainty little girl in the playground, but you could be the elegant, statuesque and strong one. Life is short, even if you're not. 

And you’ll always be little to me anyway. 

Love you endlessly, 

Mum xx

www.ottoandivy.com

Instagram: @ottoandivyshoes

Facebook: @ottoandivyshoes

5 comments

  • Hey ladies,

    I can’t seem to reply to each of your comments individually… not sure if my shop blog allows that! Will need to work on it!

    But thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Sounds like there are some good tall mamas about. And congrats Lauren on your new addition!

    Laura xx

    Otto + Ivy (Laura)
  • Lovely. Thank you Laura. I’m 72 now and in the last 30 years or so have been upping my attitude. Standing tall and straight doesn’t half help. Luckily I never did stoop – not really – but always looked for something to lean on in company – doorway, wall etc. Still hate crowded rooms. Prefer the outdoors.

    Your lovely daughter has a Mum who has said the right things to her. My Mum did too.

    All best wishes,
    Ruth

    Ruth Bowyer
  • I’m going to cry…😢

    Gloria
  • Love this! I’m 6’5 with a new 3 week old daughter and this is SO the truth! Always stand tall and proud; people are gonna look so give em something to look at! Thanks for writing this. I’ll def have to share with my girl as she grows…and grows and grows….

    Lauren
  • Good Letter to your Daughter, My Daughter is 6ft1inch I’m so proud of her I’m sure she went through most of all the comments Tall people get at school & as a teanager She has a Son now I’m sure he is going to be Tall, My own Son is 6ft 5inch but he stands very tall no messing with him , I’m sure just like us Mum’s they will stand Tall. Xx

    Rose Smith

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